Erica Frenay Sec of the Board

Erica Frenay

I am an upstate NY native who graduated from Cornell CALS in 1998, having studied biology, ecology, and natural resources. I spent 7 years in in Portland, OR and on Orcas Island, WA, first as an AmeriCorps volunteer working for an agricultural land trust, then as director of an urban educational farm in Portland, and finally on a permaculture farm studying ecological design and low-input agricultural systems.

In 2003, I left the Pacific Northwest and spent the next 2 years traveling and apprenticing with various farms and organizations in New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Australia, to learn Holistic Management, natural building, and to further develop my farming skills.

In 2005, my husband Craig and I returned to Ithaca and I began working for the Small Farms Program. We also began looking for land to begin our own farm, and in 2009 together with Craig’s family we purchased 25 acres in Brooktondale, NY, adjacent to a 200-acre parcel that we could gradually lease. In 2010 we founded Shelterbelt Farm, a diversified farm producing grass-fed beef and lamb, tree fruits and berries, raw honey, pastured eggs, and value-added products. In 2018 we added a self-serve farm store for local customers, and also a glamping tent which allowed us to welcome overnight guests to the farm.  Our farm motto is, “food for your soul, with love from our soil.”

We have two children, Rowan and Phoenix, who we really like to hang out with. We all love camping, canoeing, cooking, gardening, reading, and making art and music together.